Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ready to Run

The silver lining in this winter's mild winter - and I'll admit this ain't much of a silver lining - was being able to run outdoors all winter. Don't get me wrong: I'd trade all of my outdoor runs this winter for a single honest-to-god Nor'easter or a few more days of great spring skiing like we had on Saint Patrick's Day. But at least I've got a head start on running this year.

I took this photo of the SUNY Albany campus during a rare daytime run in December.  Don't tell my boss: I snuck away at lunchtime.  Beleive me, it's not this nice in the dark at 20 degrees.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
My winter running course is a roughly 3.5 mile loop around the SUNY Albany campus. It's lighted (I run after work, usually in the dark) and crews quickly clear any snow and ice (a non-factor this winter). Running in the dark and cold may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it beats the hell out of slogging out miles on the treadmill.

A photo of the bike path from last fall.  This is the Round Lake trailhead, near Exit 11 of the Northway.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Once we shift to daylight savings time, the extra hour of light allows me to run my preferred course on the Saratoga County bike path near Round Lake. The bike path is traffic-free (except for other runners, walkers and cyclists), wooded and somewhat scenic, and marked every quarter mile (maybe not always accurately). Whereas running at SUNY allows me to log some maintenance miles over the winter, I feel I can really train on the bike path.

I've been running on the bike path for two or three weeks now, and I've been pleased with my times. I feel like I'm faster and in better shape than this time a year ago, thanks in part to running through the winter. I don't tend to set a lot of detailed goals for myself (though I admire people who do, like my friends Mike and Damon), but I have some races I'd like to run and some benchmarks I'd like to hit this year.

Lake Placid Half Marathon - Last year I ran the Vermont Covered Bridges Half Marathon in 1:39:47, a time I was very pleased with. I want to beat that time, even though the Lake Placid course may be slightly more difficult.

Wilton Wildlife Preserve 5K trail run series - Last year I took more than 7 minutes off my cumulative time for the 5 races compared to 2010. I want to improve by at least a couple of minutes this year.

Whiteface Uphill Footrace photo courtesy of

Whiteface Mountain Uphill Footrace - I ran this outstanding race every year from around 1992 to 2003. It's a very challenging course: 3600 feet of elevation gain over 8 miles. There's no way I'll hit any of my times from a decade-plus ago, but I want to run it again. This year, the 35th running, the race has been moved from its traditional date in June to September 22.

Race the Train - A fun 8.4 mile race from Riparius to North Creek that I've always wanted to run. Maybe this year I will.

Willard Mountain Warrior Run - Last year's West Mountain Warrior Run has been moved to Willard for 2012. The West Mountain race was a blast, and I'm looking forward to running this year at Willard.

I've never really focused much on 5K road races in the past, but I'll probably run a few this year. The SPAC Rock and Run 5K is one that's on my radar screen. My fastest 5K race time last year was 20:24 in the Run for the ROC in October; I'd like to crack 20 minutes in a 5K this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment